1973 The original French play La Cage aux Folles written by Jean Poiret premieres at the Theatre du Palais-Royal on February 1. The play starred the playwright Jean Poiret and Michel Serrault. The play ran for almost 1,800 performances. The play was seen by more than one million theatre goers.
1979 French film adaptation of play was directed by Edouard Molinaro. It starred Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault. The film (subtitled “Birds of a Feather” on the US poster) was for many years the most successful foreign film to be released in the US. Unlike many other non-English –language films, the English dubbing was done generally by the original cast.
1980 The French film “La Cage aux Folles II” premiered, also directed by Edouard Molinaro.
1983 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened on August 21 at the Palace Theater on Broadway to great acclaim and popularity. The musical starred Gene Barry and George Hearn.
1985 The French film “La Cage aux Folles III” premiered, directed by Georges Lautner.
1985 The musical La Cage aux Folles opens in Australia and starred Keith Michel and Jon Ewing.
1986 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened in London’s West End starring George Hearn and Denis Quilley.
1996 The American film remake titled The Birdcage directed by Mike Nichols was released, relocated to South Beach, Miami, and starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
2004 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened again on Broadway on December 9 at the Marriott Marquis Theatre starring Gary Beach and Daniel Davis.
2008 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened again in London but this time at the Menier Chocolate Factory to great acclaim, starring Douglas Hodge and Philip Quast.
2010 Another revival of La Cage aux Folles opened on April 18 on Broadway at the Longacre Theater, starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.
2010 A Dutch production opened in November and is still running.
2011 Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles begins touring the United States.
La Cage aux Folles’ composer / lyricist Jerry Herman shared his thoughts on writing this musical comedy in “Showtune,” a memoir by Jerry Herman with Marilyn Stasio.
“Our collaboration worked because we all respected each other, learned from each other, and shared our idea with each other. We pulled this off because we agreed to put aside any individual political agendas and make “La Cage” appealing to the broadest mass audience.
The material was so rich, we could have done it lots of different ways. We could have toned down the humor, given it a much more serious tone, or made it more romantic, or more politically militant. The material seemed to us to work best as a charming, colorful, great-looking musical comedy – an old-fashioned piece of entertainment.
That suits me, because I like to say things quietly, almost subliminally. I feel that’s the way to really get into a person’s heart. In the case of “La Cage,” I wanted to write a show about two sweet men that the audience would love and take into their hearts. That’s the real secret of getting your point across – not by hitting people over the head with some pedantic lesson, but by making them fall in love with the characters.”
Originally published by Donald I. Fine Books, New York